Howland Local Schools

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12 11, 2015

Howland superintendent says reorganization will ‘homogenize’ district

By | 2018-02-07T16:48:14-04:00 November 12th, 2015|Categories: Archived|Tags: , |

Andy Bednar, an architect with Baker, Bednar, Snyder and Associates, described the need for a ramp or elevator at North Road Elementary because it is two stories tall. He said H.C. Mines also needs more restrooms and a covered walkway.

 

From the Vindicator:

HOWLAND

Several officials from Howland local schools unveiled a reorganization plan Wednesday that Superintendent Kevin Spicher says is intended to “homogenize” – equalize – the district’s four elementary schools.

“We’ve always had a perception that there were two sides of town,” said Spicher, who graduated from Howland in 1986. He said everyone in the school district needs to “feel good about being educated in Howland, no matter what side of town you’re in.” In Howland’s case, it’s a north-south division.

Currently, students in the northern part of the township attend Howland Glen for kindergarten to grade 2 and H.C. Mines for grades 3 to 5. Students in the southern part of the township attend Howland Springs for kindergarten to grade 2 and North Road Elementary for grades 3 to 5.

The plan being proposed calls for students in grade 1 to attend Howland Springs, grade 2 at Howland Glen, grades 3 and 4 at H.C. Mines and grade 5 at North Road. Kindergarten would be split between Howland Glen and Howland Springs because there isn’t enough room for all to be together, Spicher said. Programs such as cognitive disabilities would remain at their present site.

Twelve-year board member Scott Lehman said he “totally agrees” with the reorganization.

“I have felt for many years we would be better if we could have our kids go through their whole school career together,” he said.

Another reason to combine students of the same grade level into one building is to improve administrative efficiency because they all would have the same principal, Spicher said.

The plan would not affect the middle school or high school, would involve only modest changes to the elementary buildings and is intended to become effective with next school year, Spicher said.

Bid and Buy
Spicher said the change will not cause students to have longer bus rides than now or increase transportation costs.

Kindergarteners next year will attend a full day, Spicher said. Howland is the only district in the county with half-day kindergarten now, he said.

The reorganization also will eliminate the need for any of the four trailer classrooms now in place at the North Road school and four trailer classrooms at H.C. Mines.

The project would be paid for with existing funds and would not involve an additional levy, Spicher said. He didn’t know how much the reorganization will cost, he said.

Implementation of the plan will begin as soon as early 2016 with the bulk of the move occurring next summer unless there is an “outcry from the community,” Spicher said.

The plan was written after receiving input from the community through surveys and conversations, but a community committee also is being formed to review the plan, Lehman said.

Andy Bednar, an architect with Baker, Bednar, Snyder and Associates, described the need for a ramp or elevator at North Road Elementary because it is two stories tall. He said H.C. Mines also needs more restrooms and a covered walkway. But neither of those will be completed in time for next school year, Spicher said.

 

29 10, 2015

BBS involved in the big changes planned for Howland Schools

By | 2018-02-12T16:57:19-04:00 October 29th, 2015|Categories: Archived|Tags: , , |

From WFMJ:

HOWLAND TWP., Ohio – A plan for reconfiguration will bring big changes for Howland schools, and one key element will give the district something it has wanted for a long time.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Howland Superintendent Kevin Spicher said the strategic planning initiatives are designed to move the district forward.

“I think this is one of those times when we need to realize we’re not the schools of yesteryear anymore,” Spicher said.

As part of the strategic plan Howland will reconfigure it’s four intermediate schools to teach all students in the same grade under one roof. For example, North Road School will be all fifth graders.

School leaders say it will end a long standing system where students have been separated geographically on two sides of the district and met for the first time in middle school.

“Where it wasn’t until sixth grade that everyone met everybody else within the township,” School Board member Justin Kaszowski said. School leaders say one grade under one roof will also benefit teachers.

“Our teachers will be able to meet on a daily basis to drive their instruction, develop a plan, and work together,” said Curriculum Supervisor Erin Pierce.

The changes will also free up space so that Howland will be able for the first time to offer all-day everyday kindergarten. Something Spicher says is needed for Howland to be a viable district going forward.

“We can’t entice all of our students and parents who want to come and stay in Howland schools if we can’t start them here in Howland schools,” said Spicher.

The lack of all day kindergarten has had an impact on Howland enrollment.

“That’s a big factor, we’ve lost a lot of open enrollment students that would have stayed in the district, Board member Kaszowski said.

Another positive from reconfiguration will be the elimination of modular classrooms, which were intended to be only temporary. No schools will be closed and the overall plan will not add any cost to taxpayers. The superintendent says they plan to begin the changeovers at the end of the current school year.

“Because it’s basically an initiative of moving materials, supplies, staffing, and students to the buildings there’s very little else that has to to be put in place to make that happen, that’s why it’s a good thing,” Spicher said.

The reconfiguration will require changes in bus routes but no additional busing.

 
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